Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:56 PM
MNF - Lions at Packers
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Detroit at Green Bay (-3.5, 45.5), 8:15 pm ET, ESPN
The schedule commands that the Lions will have the nation’s attention on Monday night. What Matt Patricia’s team does with its opportunity to take over the NFC North lead in mid-October will likely dictate how seriously we all take Detroit going forward.
In some ways, the Lions are the relative we only see on Thanksgiving. We’re happy to give that Honolulu Blue and Silver a hug since it means there’s early football on and everyone is in a good mood, but as the day unfolds, we move on and lose interest. We’ll see where we’re at with all of that in a little over six weeks, but the fact is that the Lions rarely command holding us captive following their annual chance. They haven’t won a playoff game since 1991 and have a 25-year drought going in between division titles, but their start to this season has us stopping to take an early look.
After squandering a 24-6 fourth-quarter lead in winding up tied with the Cardinals, Detroit returned home and pulled off upsets over the Chargers and Eagles before suffering a 34-30 loss to the Chiefs as Patrick Mahomes executed a fourth-quarter comeback by getting his team into the end zone with six seconds left. That game was unique because it featured Mahomes failing to throw a single touchdown pass despite a productive day and also because they were able to hang around against an elite offense despite multiple top defensive players being sidelined.
The Lions have gotten healthier during their bye week and can now more easily see the bright side of standing toe-to-toe with a title contender, albeit one that has now dropped consecutive games after being upset by the Colts and Texans the past two Sundays. Had it not been for a 100-yard fumble recovery that Kansas City’s Bashaud Breeland returned for a third-quarter 14-point swing, we could be talking about undefeated Detroit right now in addition to being really worried about the Chiefs.
As they visit Lambeau Field looking to pull off another upset, it’s worth reminding you that the Lions have actually had the Packers’ number over the past few seasons and have won four of their last five visits to Green Bay. Patricia went 2-0 against the Pack in his first season and closed out 2018 with the franchise’s first shutout of the Packers since 1973 as Aaron Rodgers left the game with a concussion and ended up sidelined as Green Bay fans were forced to watch Detroit kicker Matt Prater finish with more touchdown passes than backup Deshone Kizer, who has since been traded to the Raiders.
Weird things can happen in rivalry games and this one is the NFL’s longest-running series, featuring at least two meetings per season since 1932. The favored team has actually won and covered in 12 of the last 14 matchups, with Detroit’s Week 17 shutout one of the two anomalies. Check out the recent history below for more details.
Rodgers is healthy again but has had some problems finding a great rhythm in the new offense installed by first-year head coach Matt LaFleur, who was named the full-time replacement to long-time leader Mike McCarthy. All of Detroit’s recent success has come against the maligned coach, who won six division titles and Super Bowl XLV but was blamed for Green Bay’s collapse. We’ll see how they fare against Rodgers and a new offense, but Patricia will also have to hope his own attack can continue to flourish against a defense that has been fantastic under coordinator Mike Pettine.
Green Bay defeated the Cowboys last week 34-24 but had Dallas blanked at the break. They’ve surrendered just three points in their five first-quarters thus far this season, so that’s a trend you might want to get in on given the likelihood that Detroit treads lightly early on the road. Westgate lists the Packers as a half-point favorite for the opening 15 minutes, setting the total at 7.5. For a free prop selection featuring Lions RB Kerryon Johnson, click here.
Although light rain is in the forecast for Green Bay early on Monday, skies are expected to clear by kickoff. Cool temperatures await both teams as it’s supposed to dip into the 30s by the time the second half rolls around, so they’ll hopefully have those ball-warmers functioning.
The Packers look to continue a trend that has seen the favorite win and cover five straight times following the Week 1 doubleheader opener in which the Saints barely survived Houston. For more details, check out VI’s MNF Schedule. To dig into a road trend to watch that can be applied to this NFC North matchup, check out Matt Blunt’s most recent Hot & Not Report.
Rodgers and the offense have scored 20 or more points in four straight games after winning in Chicago 10-3 to kickoff the season. Despite missing top receiver Davante Adams, the Green Bay offense has been able to make due with their remaining pieces thanks to Rodgers' quick decisions under center. Adams has been ruled out again with a toe injury. For more on who's in and who's sidelined, check out the injury report below in addition to all the other gambling goodies.
After watching its first two games cash ‘under’ tickets, Green Bay comes into this game on a 3-0 run to the ‘over’ while Detroit has watched the high side cash in three of its first four games.
Despite the current total form for both clubs, the Week 6 finale opened at 46 ½ and the number has dropped to 45 ½ as of Monday at most betting shops. VegasInsider.com totals expert Chris David offered up his thoughts on this week’s total in the divisional matchup.
“Backing the ‘under’ in divisional games has been a great investment and VI expert Matt Blunt pointed that out in last week’s Hot & Not Report. The trend remained in play this Sunday with a 2-1 record to the ‘under’ and the one ‘over’ could’ve been anticipated with Carolina and Tampa Bay squaring off in a quick rematch from London after a low-scoring affair in the first encounter back in Week 2,” he said.
David added, “For this NFC North matchup, the ‘over’ is on a 6-1 run in this past seven meetings. Coincidentally, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has barely played or sat out three of the last four games against the Lions and his absence is a large reason why Detroit has won its last four games against Green Bay. At home with Rodgers, the Packers have always been traditionally more potent offensively but this year’s squad hasn’t busted the 30-point mark yet. The Lions have seen the ‘over’ cash in their two road games and those outcomes were helped by both the Detroit offense (27 PPG) and defense (25.5 PPG).”
“My handicapping uses seasonal trends and one angle that fits that approach is with teams playing with rest. Including the Dolphins outcome yesterday, the ‘under’ has gone 3-0 in games with at least one club off their bye week. Last year, Detroit went ‘over’ with rest but its five previous games all watched the ‘under’ connect when the Lions were off the bye and the offense hasn’t been sharp with QB Matthew Stafford. One of those ‘under’ tickets came against Green Bay, an 18-16 win at Lambeau Field in the 2015 regular season. I’m expecting another tight affair here and I believe the Lions will have trouble breaking 20 points. My lean would be to the ‘under’ (45 ½) in the game and to the Detroit team total ‘under’ (20 ½) as well,” said David.
Bettors following the Monday Night Football results have seen the ‘under’ cash in four of the first six games in this primetime slot.
Projected season win total: 6.5 (Over -150, Under +130)
Odds to win NFC North (pre-Week 1/current): 9/1 to 11/2
Odds to win NFC (pre-Week 1/current): 40/1 to 30/1
Odds to win Super Bowl (pre-Week 1/current): 80/1 to 60/1
Green Bay Packers
Projected season win total: 9 (Over -140, Under +120)
Odds to win NFC North (pre-Week 1/current): 9/4 to 6/5
Odds to win NFC (pre-Week 1/current): 9/1 to 7/1
Odds to win Super Bowl (pre-Week 1/current): 20/1 to 16/1
Caesars' Senior Oddsmaker Alan Berg provides insights from behind the counter.
"The Lions opened as high at +6 and that seemed crazy with how well they have played this season," said Berg, whose excellent observations can be found on Twitter at @PercentBerg. "I'm still not buying this Packers offense. That said, the Lions have always struggled with Green Bay. Public support is heavy for the Packers at -3.5 but sharps bet it to the point where I wouldn't feel comfortable taking +3.5. As usual, the ticket count is 2-1 on the 'over'."
While Adams is out, the Packers will get backup RB Jamaal Williams from concussion protocol and also got good news with center Corey Lindsey upgraded to probable. Tackle Bryan Bulaga is also up. The Packers are unlikely to have safety Darnell Savage and CB Tony Brown available but have gotten excellent play in the secondary thus far.
The Lions are going to have top corner Darius Slay back from a hamstring injury and could see the debut of DT DeShawn Hand (elbow). DT Mike Daniels and CB Amani Oruwariye remain sidelined but the Lions are hopeful DT A'Shawn Robinson can return from a knee injury.
Detroit's offense is likely to have top offseason acquisition Danny Amendola in there and is expecting that standout rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson can be cleared from concussion protocol in order to participate.
(Lions 7-4 SU, 7-4 ATS last 11, OVER 8-3)
12/30/18 Lions 31-0 vs. Packers (DET +7.5, 44.5)
10/7/18 Lions 31-23 at Packers (DET -1, 50)
12/31/17 Lions 35-11 vs. Packers (DET -7.5, 44.5)
11/6/17 Lions 30-17 at Packers (DET - 2.5, 42.5)
1/1/17 Packers 31-24 at Lions (GB -3.5, 50)
9/25/16 Packers 34-27 vs. Lions (GB -6, 47.5)
12/3/15 Packers 27-23 at Lions (GB -3, 46.5)
11/15/15 Lions 18-16 at Packers (DET +10.5, 49.5)
12/28/14 Packers 30-20 at Lions (GB -7, 46.5)
9/21/14 Lions 19-7 at Packers (DET -2.5, 52.5)
11/28/13 Lions 40-10 at Packers (DET -6, 48.5)
NEXT WEEK'S NUMBERS POSTED
The Westgate opens its advance lines for the following week on Tuesdays and Week 7 currently has the Packers as a 7-point home favorite over the Raiders, who will be coming in off a bye after a Week 5 upset of the Bears in London. The Lions will face another NFC North rival as the surging Vikings visit Detroit. The initial line is a pick'em.
Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA